AOI Mentorship Scheme 2023: Meet Filipa Namorado

The 2023 AOI Mentorship scheme is fully underway, and we are proud to introduce and champion this year’s mentees in a new series of interviews. A free program first introduced in 2020, this initiative champions a select group of 22 underrepresented illustrators, empowering them with dedicated support and guidance in the course of six months.

Filipa Namorado is an Illustrator based in Portugal, paired with mentor and illustrator Dave Bain. Continue reading to learn how their mentorship is going so far, their key takeaways from the experience, and much more.

What does being part of the AOI Mentorship mean to you?

It was an honour to be considered for the AOI’s mentorship program, and participating in this cohort has made me feel extraordinarily lucky. Being able to meet one-on-one with an established illustrator further along in their career, and gain not only valuable industry insight but advice tailored to my personal goals, has been nothing short of amazing.

Thank you to both Dave and the AOI—I can’t overstate how grateful I am to have been given this opportunity to grow as an illustrator. I’m delighted that I got to embark on this journey alongside talented artists from all over the world and become a part of this international illustration community.

It’s been a joy diving into the colourful and characterful illustration world of Filipa Namorado. During our mentor sessions, it’s become clear that they’re incredibly attentive and thoughtful about their portfolio and future career – exactly what you’d want from a mentee.

Additionally, Filipa’s passion for researching and depicting subjects close to their heart shines through. I’m really excited to be on this journey with them as we craft their portfolio toward future illustration commissions.”
Dave Bain, AOI Mentor.

How has the mentorship helped you tackle your goals? In what way(s) has your mentor supported you?

Dave has helped me reflect on my strengths and weaknesses as an illustrator in a meaningful way. It’s been invaluable to have a seasoned professional assess my portfolio and review my promotional strategies, highlighting areas I could improve and pointing out things I hadn’t considered before. One of the main reasons I applied to the AOI mentorship was that I had been feeling adrift in my career. By giving me actionable steps I can take to develop a consistent practice, Dave has helped me find a new sense of direction.

Each session we focus on a different element of my practice, then Dave provides me with a few tasks to complete before the following session. This structure helps me exercise discipline and keeps me accountable when working towards my goals. Recently, we’ve been focusing on filling the gaps in my portfolio and coming up with mock briefs for assignments that allow me to showcase skills or themes that I haven’t covered yet. I’m currently working on an editorial illustration that prominently features children, a big gap in my portfolio for someone who’d love to do children’s books!

“Throughout our conversations, Dave has made me realize the power of doing things with intention. He’s emphasised how important it is to take the time to reflect on who I am and what I want to accomplish as an illustrator.”
Filipa Namorado

What has been a key moment or takeaway from the mentorship so far?

As a creative who struggles with anxiety, I sometimes fall into the trap of overthinking and second-guessing myself, which can lead me to act from a place of desperation. I’ll work on a piece I think I should include in my portfolio without asking myself what I’m trying to achieve with it. Or I’ll doodle something to post on social media because I feel I should be more active online. Throughout our conversations, Dave has made me realize the power of doing things with intention. He’s emphasised how important it is to take the time to reflect on who I am and what I want to accomplish as an illustrator. Even though it’s natural to feel discouraged when I don’t get a reply to a cold email or when I notice my portfolio isn’t as well-rounded as I would like it to be, he has helped remind me that these setbacks aren’t unique to me and there’s often a tried-and-true solution for each one.

Dave has been incredibly generous in sharing his time and expertise with me and I leave every session feeling more reassured about my future as an illustrator. His guidance has been instrumental in helping me restore my confidence and motivation in my professional life and I feel grateful for everything I’ve learned so far. I couldn’t have asked for a kinder, more inspiring mentor and I’m looking forward to the rest of our time together over the next few months!

Thank you Filipa for taking the time to give us this interview. See more of their work on their website and instagram.

Keep checking our Mentorship section to meet more mentees!

Learn more about the AOI Mentorship and our 2023 Mentors.

The AOI Mentorship scheme is one of many initiatives offered by us. Find out more about membership today.

29th August 2023

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